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see saxifragesaxifrage
, common name for several members of the Saxifragaceae, a family of widely varying herbs, shrubs, and small trees of cosmopolitan distribution. They are found especially in north temperate zones and include many arctic and alpine species.
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. For the genus Syringa, see lilaclilac,
any plant of the genus Syringa, deciduous Old World shrubs or small trees of the family Oleaceae (olive family), widely cultivated as ornamentals. Since colonial days, the common lilac has been in America one of the best loved of the flowering shrubs, meriting its
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(lilac), a genus of plants of the family Oleaceae. The plants are mostly deciduous shrubs or small trees. The opposite leaves are most often entire. The small fragrant flowers have a tubular corolla and are gathered in panicles, two to eight of which grow at the tips of annual shoots that grow at the ends of branches from the preceding year. The plants flower in April and May in southern regions and in May and June in northern areas. They are propagated from seeds, layers, and cuttings; garden varieties are often grafted. The fruit is a bilocular capsule, with elongated seeds having a barely noticeable wing. There are approximately 30 species, distributed in Eurasia, predominantly in eastern Asia. The USSR has four wild species: common lilac (S. vulgaris), Hungarian lilac (S. josikaea), Persian lilac (S. persica), and S. robusta. The most commonly cultivated species are common lilac, Persian lilac, Rouen lilac (S. chinensis), and Hungarian lilac.

The common lilac is a tree or shrub reaching 5–7 m tall. The dark-green leaves are acuminate and cordate at the base. The inflorescences of cultivated varieties are large, reaching 25 cm in length. The white, pink, lilac, or violet flowers, which measure up to 3.5 cm across, may be single or double. Blossoming lasts ten to 20 days; propagation is by seeds. As a result of cultivation over many years, many ornamental varieties with various flower coloration, leaf shape, and inflorescence shape have been produced. The plants are used for landscaping, and some varieties are used for forcing. In the USSR more than 30 varieties are recommended for nursery propagation. They are propagated by grafts (a dormant bud and a cutting), layers, shoots, and softwood cuttings. The last three methods yield longer-lived plants having their own roots; the winter-hardiness of the plants is no less than that of grafted varieties. The best stock for grafting are seedlings of the common lilac; in southern regions European privet is also used as grafting stock.

The Persian lilac, a branching shrub reaching 2 m high, has thin drooping branches and a delicate crown. The leaves are small, elongate-lanceolate, and naked. The slightly fragrant white or pale lilac flowers are in small drooping clusters. The Persian lilac is drought resistant, but it is less winter-hardy than the common lilac. Flowering occurs a week later than in the common lilac, and very few fruits are produced. Propagation is primarily vegetative.

The Rouen lilac is a hybrid of the common and Persian lilacs. Its leaves and flowers resemble those of the Persian lilac, but the plant is distinguished from the latter by its erect growth and abundance of large flower clusters, reaching 40 cm long, on the shoots. The Rouen lilac flowers at the same time as the common lilac; the fruits do not set. The plant’s winter-hardiness is similar to that of the Persian lilac. Propagation is vegetative.

The Hungarian lilac is a shrub measuring 3–4 m tall. The elliptic leaves, which are whitish below, narrow toward the base and merge with the petiole. The flowers bloom eight to 15 days later than those of the common lilac. The small lilac or violet flowers are long and tubular and gathered in dense narrow clusters. Propagation is by seeds and softwood cuttings. The Hungarian lilac is drought resistant and winter-hardy.

Less common lilac species include the Amur lilac (S. amurensis), S. japonica, and S. villosa.

Most lilac species and their hybrids are planted as ornamentals in groups, singly, or as hedges. The violet-brown wood is hard, dense, and very sturdy. It takes a polish well and is used to make carved and lathed articles. An extract of the flowers is used in perfume.

In the USSR, botanical and dendrologic gardens and nurseries study the acclimatization, reproduction, and creation of new lilac varieties. The Soviet horticulturist L. A. Kolesnikov has produced new varieties, which are now known in many countries.


Vekhov, N. K. Sireni. Moscow, 1953.
Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.



of Idaho. [Flower Symbolism: Golenpaul, 630]


another name for mock orange and lilac (sense 1)


1. Med an instrument, such as a hypodermic syringe or a rubber ball with a slender nozzle, for use in withdrawing or injecting fluids, cleaning wounds, etc.
2. any similar device for injecting, spraying, or extracting liquids by means of pressure or suction
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